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Below is a video of another dance from the show Philomena’s Dream.  This medley is a collaboration of two dances across three different dance groups in Memphis: IDA, Jasmine’s Jewels, and Mystic River Dance.

The  choreographer of the candle dance is Isidora Hart. The song is Pachyderm Picnic by Brent Lewis.

Jasmine (of Dance with Jasmine) choreographed the second dance.  The song is Misirlou by Mosava.

For the last six years, the ladies of Shimmy Mob Memphis have joined women across the world in danced to raise funds and awareness for local women’s and children’s shelters to help end domestic violence.

We invite you to join us this Saturday, May 21, 2016 for a fundraiser show and silent auction at Club 152 on Beale Street at 7 p.m.  Admission is $15.  Proceeds go to the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County.

Our performers will include the beautiful dancers from Alima Tribe, Tribal City Bellydance, Pyramid Dance Company, Sahar, Mystic River Dance Company, and of course Shimmy Mob Memphis.

There will be presentations about the Family Safety Center and a silent auction with lovely items on the auction block.

(Bring cash or a check for the auction!)

Please join us for a fun and sparkly evening in support of a great cause!

 

SM 2016 group

SM 2015 group

 

 

I realize that most people probably think other people’s resolution reports involving statistics do not make for interesting reading material.  I get it, I do. But whatever. It’s my blog. I do what I want!  If I want to whip out a t-test or a flowchart, I will!  Just try and stop me.

Actually, October is not a month for t-tests. October is a month for life beyond spreadsheets; it is a month for magic-y magic and wild, wily witchery.

subdued witches

subdued witches

not so subdued witches

not so subdued witches

Poetry Witches5

I might have been on a bit of a witch kick.  I tore through three of Paula Brackston’s books:

The Midnight Witch

The Witches Daughter

The Winter Witch

I haven’t bought The Silver Witch yet, but it’s on the list. I love this author! Necromancers, hedge witches, and warlocks, oh my! Each story was set in a different period with unforgettable characters. The language was beautiful and the magic strange.

And as if by magic, I did manage to make some progress on the resolutions…

1. Cook something fabulous and complicated every other week.

I did! Four times fabulous with varying degrees of complicated.

2. Eat dinner before 7:30

I had a 61% success rate here — up 8 points from September!

3. Tend the garden.

I spent over 9 hours out there planting mums and pansies, pulling weeds, removing dead flowers, picking arugula and planting Brussels sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, and lettuce.

MoonPie smells the roses

MoonPie smells the roses

4. Finish Inferno choreography.

Done!

5. Write a book.

I got a whooping 5 hours in his month.  Better than last month, but I need to invest way more time here.

6. Meditate 15 minutes a day.

Not even close. Only got in 2.5 hours.

****

What were your happy accomplishments in October?

In the middle of our life journey, I found myself in a dark wood. I had wandered from the straight path.  It isn’t easy to talk about it: it was such a thick, wild, and rough forest that when I think of it, my fear returns….

Dante, The Inferno

Dante's Inferno

On Saturday, October 3rd, the Inferno choreography was released into the world.

Inferno (2)

The idea for this dance has lived in me for over nine months. In the last trimester alone I poured out over 20 hours of zeal and profound love on just the physical creation of the 4 minute and 23 second dance. That doesn’t include the hours I spent reading, researching, and thinking about Dante’s heroic verses.

Inferno

Before this conception there was a courtship, of course.  My notes date back to August 15, 2014, when I responded to Dante’s call to his Readers:

O voi ch’avete li ‘ntelletti sani,
mirate la dottrina che s’asconde
sotto ‘l velame de li versi strani.

Oh you with sound intellects,
Observe the doctrine that conceals itself
Beneath the veil of these strange verses!

–Dante’s Infeno, Canto IX

Inferno 01

That’s when I began studying Dante’s work in earnest and trying to interpret the mysterious verses. It’s astounding how a 700 year old poem continues to resonate through the work of contemporary musicians, painters, writers, singers, and other artists.

By the time of the performance, most of the choreography was set, but there were unnerving parts I had to improvise.  I haven’t seen the video yet, so I don’t know how well the improvised parts went and whether I was able to express what this dance with Dante meant to me, but I do know that I learned a lot through the process of making it.

IMG_4916 (2)

If you’re interested in seeing the images I collected to guide the choreography, they may be found through the link here on Pinterest:  Inferno inspiration board

Inferno Finale

 

The poets leave hell

Here’s the resolutions progress report:

1. Cook something fabulous and complicated every other week.

I cooked three simple but tasty dinners and one easy lunch, which was way more cooking than I usually do.

But that’s not all!

Debra of Threading the Web shared her grandmother’s recipe for banana cake with caramel icing – it’s an old-school style recipe, which called for ingredients I had to search for in two different stores. It was worth the effort. This cake is seriously yum.  I made the cake for Nanook’s 75th birthday party and it received rave reviews from all party-goers.  And…then I made it again for my birthday.

Then there was a pasta dish that was semi-complicated. I used fresh basil, oregano, and cherry tomatoes from the garden, which made me happy.

I must admit, I am quite pleased with my performance this month on the cooking resolution.

I bumped the “Eat dinner before 7:00 p.m.” goal down to “Eat dinner before 7:30 p.m.” because 7:00 is still too hard and if I miss the deadline, I’m more likely to say “screw it” and eat at 9 p.m., which is part of the problem.  I was able to hit my 7:30 deadline 81% of the time in August compared to 67% of the time in July with the 7:00 deadline. Not perfect, but it’s progress. I’ll take it.

2.  Finish Inferno choreography.

I still haven’t finished it, but I’m getting closer! I spent 9 hours and 45 minutes working on it this month.

And here is where I will insert a gratuitous dance picture from last week’s performance at the Renaissance Faire.

Faire Dance

3. Write a book.

I spent 9 1/2 hours writing and researching this month, which only amounted to around 4,208 words. This is just sad. It’s not nearly enough if I want to get this thing written in my lifetime.

My resolution time was hampered by things like the need for sleep, busted water pipes, and walls being ripped out of the house in search for the leak.  A new semester started mid-month, so now I have a couple thousand preschoolers competing with everything else for my time and attention. I am getting better at saying “No,” to the time-consuming requests made by others, but I have a long way to go if I’m going to carve out enough time to get stuff I want to do done.

4. Tend the garden.

I spent 23 hours in the garden! Wowie. I had no idea it was that much until I just totaled up the time. Garden hours seem to pass on a completely different time scale. I logged most of this time in the first half of the month. I was a weeding and mulching maniac. Slinging mulch is great exercise. I planted oregano, cilantro, arugula, greens, chives, and lettuce. I clipped the amaryllis and hid them away until fall.  There is still so much work to be done!  I still want to plant spinach, garlic, kale and chard. The back beds need weeding. I want to plant mums and repot the house plants. And soon the leaves are gonna start falling. I am so looking forward to the fall and winter this year.  This is a brand new thing for me. I’ve always been a spring and summer sort of girl, but I’m ready to be cloistered inside with hot chocolate. I want to hide under a pile of blankets and spend hours reading books. I’m ready for soup.

5. Meditate 15 minutes a day.

I logged exactly the same amount of time this month as last month:  3 hours and 15 minutes.  This is a far cry from daily.  We’ll see how September goes.

Inferno

I’ve been working on a choreography for Emma Shapplin’s The Inferno for months now.  The song stirs something in me that badly wants out. A version of the song is embedded below.

After months of reading, thinking, listening, and moving, the idea is finally beginning to find some form in motion. I need to finish it.

The quote in the image above was taken from John Ciardi’s translation.

Yes, there’s a lot aflame around here lately.  It’s an energy that needs to be channeled somewhere safe, like dance.

SMFlyer4-29

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

~Edgar Degas

First you get a song in your brain, and then it comes out your body, and that’s how you dance.

~Davis James, age 5

Shimmy Mob Memphis is dancing to change the world. This is our fourth year of dancing for the cause!

This year we dance to raise awareness and funds for the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County. 

Shimmy Mob 2014 flyer

How can you help us end violence and strengthen families?

1. Dance with us

2. Let us dance for you

3. Donate to our cause! Visit www.fundly.com/shimmy-mob-memphis

Related Posts & Links:

Unbreakable

Dancing to Change the World

Shimmy Mob Memphis 2013

Shimmy Mob Southaven 2013

Shimmy Mob Memphis 2012

Shimmy Mob Memphis 2011

Happy International Belly Dance Day!

Today we unite in dance with women around the world to raise awareness and funds to end violence against women and children.

 

SM flier

You can show your support by coming to watch at the above times, or by going to shimmymobmemphis.com to donate or donate directly to the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County.

 

Other posts on this topic:

Unbreakable

Shimmy Mob 2013 – We’ll Be Dancing to Change the World

 

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.

-Albert Einstein

Title: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Author: Twyla Tharp

Synopsis: Master choreographer, Twyla Tharp, interweaves stories about what makes her creative life tick with advice and exercises to help others develop their own creative habit.

Why I read it: Because Caitlin Kelley wrote that it was one of her favorite books ever, which instantly made it a must-read.  She described it as, “Kick-ass and inspiring in equal measure.”


You might like this if you liked: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
(Steven Pressfield)

Highlights: You don’t have to be a dancer to appreciate this book – she gives lots of examples from other creative walks of life, including the business world.  That said, her descriptions of how she choreographs and teaches dance were fascinating.  My favorite chapter was the one on failure. She used one of her own productions as a case study on failure and what to do about it. The rigor and brutal self-assessment/honesty with which she handled the topic were impressive.

Fun coincidence: One of Tharp’s methods to harness and organize creativity is by starting with a physical box because as she puts it, “before you can think out of the box you have to start with a box.” She devotes an entire chapter to the box and what she puts in it and why.  In an entirely unrelated conversation, a friend recently invited me to craft an intention box with her – same idea as what I was learning from Tharp, but different verbiage. Crafty boxing fun will be had this week.

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